Negative Consequences of Mixing Medicines With Alcohol

Interaction of alcohol and medications is harmful, whether it is some over-the-counter prescription or some herbal remedy. It may lead to nausea, headache, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, and changes in blood pressure, abnormal behavior, and loss of coordination, accidents, and various complications such as liver damage, heart problem, internal bleeding, and depression.


Even the small quantity of alcohol is enough to intensify the medicine side effects such as sleepiness, drowsiness, and light-headedness, which may interfere with the concentration and driving a vehicle leading to fatal accidents.


Negative Consequences of Mixing Medicines With Alcohol


Alcohol interaction decreases the effectiveness of medicines and makes them useless. It might also make drugs harmful or toxic to the body.

Females taking medications and drinking alcohol are more vulnerable as their bodies contain less water than men. This leads to a quick increase in their blood-alcohol content. Similarly, older people are more affected by mixing alcohol with medicines as it can lead to more falls, and serious injuries(1).

Medicines To Avoid When Taking Alcohol

  1. Allergy, Cold And Flu Medicines: When under cold and flu or allergy medication, avoid drinking alcohol. Drowsiness and dizziness are the common side effects of these medicines, which after drinking alcohol would prove to be fatal, as it can lead to impairment of judgment and increase the risk of overdose.
  2. Angina Medicines: Angina, also known as ischemic chest pain, which occurs due to reduced blood flow to the heart. If nitro-glycerine is a compound of your angina medicine, drinking alcohol with it can lead to a rapid heart rate, a sudden change in blood pressure, dizziness, and fainting.
  3. Anti-Anxiety And Epilepsy Medications: Drinking alcohol along with anti-anxiety and epilepsy medications can cause drowsiness, dizziness, slowed breathing, and impaired motor control, breathing restriction, liver damage, abnormal behavior, and memory loss.
  4. Antibiotics: Combining the use of alcohol and certain antibiotics can cause rapid heart rate, vomiting, headache, stomach pain, changes in blood pressure, flushing, and liver damage.
  5. Antidepressants: Using alcohol and anti-depressants together can lead to dizziness, increased feeling of depression, suicidal thoughts, and drowsiness, especially in young people.
  6. Anti-Seizure Medications: Combined use of alcohol and anti-seizure medications can cause drowsiness, seizures, and dizziness.
  7. Anti-Nausea Medications: Drinking alcohol with anti-nausea medications such as Antivert, Atarax, Phenergan, and Dramamine can lead to drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired motor control.
  8. Arthritis Medications: Arthritis medicines and alcohol if take together can cause ulcers, stomach bleeding, and liver problems.
  9. Blood Thinners: Blood thinners are used to prevent blood from clotting. Taking alcohol along with it can cause bleeding or opposite effect i.e. enhancing blood clot formation thereby increasing the risk of a heart attack.
  10. Cholesterol Medication: Combining alcohol with certain cholesterol medications such as Advicor, Crestor, Mevacor, Niaspan, Altocor, Zytorin, and Zocor can cause flushing, itching, stomach bleeding, and liver damage.
  11. Cough Suppressants: Similar to cold medications combining the use of alcohol and cough medicines can lead to drowsiness, dizziness, and motor impairment.
  12. Diabetes Medicines: Drinking alcohol with diabetes medicines can cause abnormally low blood sugar, nausea, vomiting, a sudden change in blood pressure, and rapid heartbeat. Therefore, avoid alcohol with Glucophage, Micronase, and Orinase.
  13. Heartburn: Use of alcohol with heartburn medicines can cause rapid heart rate, a sudden change in blood pressure, and enhanced alcohol effects.
  14. High Blood Pressure Medicines: Alcohol and hypertension medicines together can cause dizziness, drowsiness, fainting, and irregular heartbeat.
  15. Muscle Relaxants: Alcohol taken with muscle relaxants can cause drowsiness, dizziness, impaired breathing, abnormal behavior, memory loss, and seizures.
  16. Narcotic Pain Medicines: Narcotic pain medication and alcohol together can cause impaired breathing, impaired motor control, memory loss, dizziness, drowsiness, increased risk of overdose, and abnormal behavior.
  17. Over-the-Counter Pain Medication: Alcohol and painkillers including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause stomach upset, stomach ulcers, liver damage, and rapid heartbeat.
  18. Prostate Medications: Dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting can occur if prostate medicines are combined with alcohol.
  19. Sleep Aid: If taking sleep aids, alcohol should not be consumed as it can cause impaired breathing, impaired motor control, memory loss, fainting, and abnormal behavior.

As alcohol can act inversely with many medications it is important to read the warning and consult the doctor or the pharmacist whether it’s fine to use alcohol with the medicine taken.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 17, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer


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